UN: Afghan girls’ education project’s founder was detained in Kabul

The Taliban authorities in Kabul have imprisoned the originator of an initiative that advocated for girls’ education in Afghanistan, according to reports from his brother and the UN on Tuesday.

Since the Taliban regime banned girls from attending secondary school last year, Afghanistan is the only nation in the world with an education prohibition.

The UN mission in Afghanistan reported that Matiullah Wesa, the leader of PenPath and an advocate for girls’ education, had been detained in Kabul on Monday.

Wesa’s brother verified his arrest, claiming that he was apprehended outside a mosque on Monday night after prayers.

After Matiullah left the mosque after concluding his prayers, two men in automobiles stopped him, according to Samiullah Wesa, who spoke to AFP.

They thrashed Matiullah and hauled him away when he demanded their identification cards.

The organization Matiullah established, which promotes schools and gives out books in rural regions, has long made it a priority to educate village elders about the value of girls’ education.

Since the prohibition on secondary schools for girls, Wesa has kept traveling to isolated places to rally local support.

“We are counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds until girls’ schools open. As the new school year began in Afghanistan this week, he tweeted, “The devastation that closing schools creates is irrevocable and evident.

“We met with the community, and if the schools stay closed, we will continue our protest,”

The Taliban have imposed an austere interpretation of Islam since storming back to power in August 2021 after the withdrawal of US and NATO forces that backed the previous governments.

Taliban leaders — who have also banned women from university — have repeatedly claimed they will reopen schools for girls once certain conditions have been met.

They say they lack the funds and time to remodel the syllabus along Islamic lines.

When the Taliban were in power from 1996 to 2001, they gave similar guarantees, yet no girls’ schools ever opened during that time.

Hibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of Afghanistan, and his ultra-conservative advisors, who are profoundly skeptical of modern education, especially for women, are thought to have issued the edict banning girls’ education.

In addition to provoking indignation on a global scale, it has also sparked criticism within the movement, with many rank-and-file members and some senior Kabul government officials opposing the choice.

In rural areas of Afghanistan, where the benefits are being acknowledged, attitudes toward girls’ education are steadily improving despite the country’s extreme conservatism and patriarchy.


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